New Jersey couples who are going through divorce may be considering creating a divorce settlement with stipulations on how future disputes of the agreement should be handled. While this isn’t always a procedure that’s followed, it may be more important with high-net-worth divorces, where both parties have large financial resources and more is at stake to begin with. Recently, Frank McCourt, former owner of the L.A. Dodgers, faced off in court with his former wife, Jamie, over their divorce settlement. The couple, who split in 2012, created a divorce settlement that awarded Jamie $131 million and ownership of a handful of luxury homes.
Part of the deal, though, was that if either member of the couple chose to contest the terms of the agreement at a later date, he or she would be responsible for paying the other’s legal fees. Jamie opted to contest the terms on the grounds that Frank had allegedly undervalued the Dodgers, presumably for the purposes of asset division. The team sold in 2012 for $2 billion. A judge denied her claim, and she was still stuck with paying Frank’s $1.9 million in court fees.
Most recently, Jamie’s lawyers argued that Frank’s court costs were excessive, and Jamie should not have to cover all of them. The judge in the case examined the agreement the couple drew up and found it to be thorough, with evidence of care and input from both sides. He upheld the agreement in a tentative ruling, which will become final if no objections are filed within 15 days.
People going through divorces who wish to protect their assets may wish to enlist the help of a lawyer in drafting a settlement agreement. A lawyer can help them craft an agreement that is strong and thorough enough to withstand court scrutiny.
Source: ABC News, “Judge Favors Frank McCourt in Divorce Fees Fight“, Anthony McCartney, June 26, 2014